Each day is different; no day is ever the same. Yesterday has gone, this morning we embrace the prospect of simply ‘living’ another day, making new memories of what was today. For many, autumn has come and memories of today will be filled with loneliness and times of questioning. Have I spoken a tender word? Have I touched with gentleness? What memories have I made today? No day is ever the same, tomorrow may never come, the shadows of midnight continue to fall. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
The tears of a tiny orphan, the cries of an abandoned baby, the overwhelming pain and suffering break my heart. Life has lost its meaning, its purpose for so many. We need to care enough to cry with the broken-hearted, to assure them the Lord is touched by our grief and that Jesus does really care. Life slips through our fingers and those we love are gone. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
The cries of a young son as he says ‘goodbye’ to the dearest possession on earth to him, ‘Mum, please don’t leave me, please, don’t die’. No tender words, no gentle touch for a young girl of sixteen and her brother of twenty-one. Bea (43) passed away leaving behind two treasured children who have nothing to hold on to, only broken hearts. They did not want to build castles to the sky, they did not want to attain greatness, they simply wanted their Mum. The sunshine of life has gone; they question: ‘Will there ever be light in this darkness?’
Florina (41) was in our care only for two weeks; she passed away this weekend. Florina was an aunt of young Florin who passed away last month; she suffered from advanced cancer and left behind seven children between the ages of three to twenty-three. The family are devasted as they still grieve the loss of their young cousin Florin. They are close as families, living only a few houses apart. Moments of sadness are all that remains for these families to hold in their hand. Life slipped away as sand through the fingers of a dearly loved son and mother.
Delia (16) was diagnosed with cancer one year ago. She lives with her parents and her siblings (a sister and three brothers). Delia is confined to a wheelchair and is significantly affected by the fact that she cannot assist her mother in household duties. Her mother and father are devasted seeing her failing health but maintain their hope in God.
Aurel is a patient with colon cancer. He lives with his wife who was diagnosed with aggressive dementia and Alzheimer disease approximately two years ago. She became ill after the death of two of her daughters; episodes of aggressiveness have become more frequent (on one occasion she stabbed Aurel’s hand with a knife), she is unable to cook or maintain the house. Aurel is permanently confined to bed. They have one daughter who lives in Austria; she visits when she is on leave from her employment. The patient’s sister is willing to help them but is often rejected by his wife as a result of her dementia.
Andrei was a young patient (30) who suffered from a rare form of cancer, epitheloid sarcoma. After multiple surgeries and a series of chemotherapy, he passed away a few days ago. Please pray for his parents; their depth of sorrow, the pain on their faces cannot be described. Andrei was their world. Now he is gone and their world has fallen apart. They invested heavily, trying new forms of treatments relating to his rare illness. They are devastated and broken in spirit and in heart. The Lord is close to the broken heart – he is the healer of brokenness. Please pray for them.
Toader is a patient with renal cancer who lives alone. During the month of February, in the blackness of a freezing Romanian winter, his brother-in-law found him in his bed, unable to walk; he was suffering from frostbite on his toes. Owing to his evolving illness, he is unable to take care of his house or accept the responsibility of paying his utility bills. His sister is taking care of him. Sadly, Toader has now lost the ability to speak, his deterioration is aggressive. Hold Toader in your heart.
UPDATE ON KEVIN:
The surgeon has removed the cast from Kevin’s leg – the smile on Kevin’s face tells a story. However, Kevin will require further surgeries in the future in order for him to walk properly. His mum, Gabi, is slowing adapting to life without her husband Robi. She continues to care for her mother-in-law at home and has planted a new vegetable garden which offers a place of solitude from the cares and responsibilities of each new day.
As you travel through the obscure Roma villages found in the outskirts of Suceava, there is no evidence of wealth, only the awareness of struggle. Disappointment, temptation, doubt, depression are part of everyday life. Many question, does God really care; is God really real? How will they know unless we tell them that once you come face to face with Jesus, His love is real and lasting. Gabi writes: Dear Sister Shirley, Praise the Lord for His faithfulness, He always keeps His promises, we are full of joy and thankful because He chose to use us in His ministry. He deserves all the honour and all the glory. He guided us to make good decisions to help these women and their families with your support. We want to thank those who donated for the people in need! We thank you in their place, the people are grateful and thank you for caring for them. I attach a picture of a furnace we were able to purchase from your gift for a family without heat. It is a joy to serve with you. Gabi
Sabina (21) has three children – four years, two years, six months. Emanuel (4) is very sick, he is unable to stand and unable to walk. He cannot fulfil the life of a four-year-old boy. He does not know the joy of play as he is confined to bed twenty-four hours each day. The Lord guided us to help Sabina with the urgent medication etc for the sick baby. Sabina needs to know the love of God in her life, she was only seventeen when she gave birth to Emanuel; now aged twenty-one, there are three babies needing to know the love and security of a mother.
Adriana (38) is mother to a teenager of sixteen. Recently she received confirmation she is pregnant again and although she has fears of sustaining the pregnancy she has decided to keep her baby. For many years she has been renovating a derelict house. However, because the birth of her second child is scheduled for the end of this month, Adriana has decided it is time to move into the house. Gabi went to visit the family only to discover there was no heat installed. There was insufficient money to purchase a furnace. Tell Romania have met the need – the joy expressed on Adriana’s face as Gabi delivered a newly purchased furnace, assured her that God was really real. We saw first-hand genuine joy and gratitude in this family for this gift. Adriana is aware this gift is from God and expresses her ‘thanks’ to our faithful supporters. Pray for the safe delivery of a healthy baby.
Gabi (29) has lived a life of pain and rejection. Seven years ago, she gave birth to a baby boy who remains in the care of social services. Throughout the seven years, Gabi maintained contact with her son. She is soon to be married and has expressed a desire to raise the boy. Gabi gave birth to a second child, a baby girl on 19th of February, the paediatrician informed her the baby girl had a hip dislocation. Gabi was overcome; it was impossible to take the baby to a specialist due to lack of finance. We have covered all fees, we ask the Lord to touch baby Mara.
Corina is a client who received our support for a period of three years after making the decision to keep her pregnancy during an extremely difficult time in her life. She gave birth to a baby girl (she has a son of eighteen). Her son of eighteen had a relationship with an older woman who already had a child of her own. A baby was born seven months ago and given into the care of Corina (grandmother). The mother of the baby proved irresponsible, stating her desire to abandon the baby. Last week, she left the family home with her other child, leaving the baby totally alone in the house. Corina was devastated, stating she will not abandon her baby grandson. She is willing to take on the responsibility of raising the baby but lacks financial support. Corina barely survives with her own daughter of three years of age as her husband is in prison.
Partnership with all my foundations has become my life. Sister(s) Estera, Monika and Gabi are precious to me, I am privileged to serve in this wide-ranging ministry. However, as I chat from day to day on a one-to-one basis, I feel their pain and indeed the strain of the work. Monika writes: Personally, I had a special time remembering that He provides, He transforms, and yes, His timing isperfect. Mothers, fathers, young boys and girls, as they look back, all say that the support, care and love of God, through us, received from brothers and sisters in God, came in the darkest moments. It was great to remember again that we have a loving God, who is present even in the blackness and hopelessness life can bring. Thank you very much for serving with us, praying and working to save lives.
Those working within the educational sector juggle many different responsibilities. Time-tables are accompanied by a list of ‘things to do’, their compass for guidance and direction. At times the ‘schedule’ can become interrupted by circumstances of concern where I view this particular situation as the Lord graciously opening a door of opportunity. Monika received another telephone call from a member of staff from the local grammar school regarding one of their students. Tibor (18) comes from an extremely poor family, who struggle each day simply to survive. He is an upright young man who possesses the qualities of excellence as a student, always working to attain the highest of grades. As a family, they are going through a period of darkness. Since the beginning of Covid, his mother has been unemployed, his father earns a minimum wage and Tibor is working a few hours to help put food on their table. The problem deepens. They live in a small apartment which is totally over-crowded, housing two parents and four children, (Tibor), (18), two brothers, (16 & 13), one sister, (10). The father is from the Roma community which limits him within the employment sector; he is willing to work and continues to seek employment where he can. The mother is totally supportive regarding her children’s education, always encouraging them to study. She wants to work but opportunities are few for the Roma community. Pray for my colleagues in Casa Grace that through our small service of love, this family will know that Jesus is aware of their situation and cares about the everydayness of their lives. May the Lord direct their steps and bring about a transformation.
Reka is an adorable little girl who is raised by her elderly grandparents. Her grandparents love her dearly, their level of love and care are beyond words. Reka’s grandmother developed serious complications which affected her eyesight, resulting in admission to hospital. Following scans, tests etc, a series of surgeries was performed; she is now going through a period of convalescence. We pray the Lord will touch this dear sister granting her the strength to care for her precious granddaughter. Her beloved grandfather also succumbed to a serious bout of asthma which resulted in him also being admitted to hospital for a period of two months. During these months of uncertainty, Reka became fearful. If she were left alone, who would love and care for her? Her grandparents are her only family. The Lord knew the fears of her wee heart and grandpa is finally home. There is a smile on little Reka’s face again. They are so thankful for our support at all levels. Please continue to pray for them that they may gain strength and stay strong in the Lord knowing that at the close of each day, they can rest in the fact that the Lord is the One who knows every step they take.
Olivia has a little girl of seven years of age and pregnant now with her second child. Olivia decided to commence one of our training modules offered in the Sewing Training Course, in the hope of securing future employment. Life is difficult for them as a family since they are extremely poor. May her time spent in learning be a blessing in her life as the staff share the Gospel over a cup of coffee. We offer training but more importantly we offer love and hope, telling the story of the One who is our Saviour, Provider and the One who says ‘Peace be Still’ in all of our storms.
Rahela (15) gave birth to a baby girl one week ago. Sadly, the baby has been diagnosed with severe heart problems requiring further investigations to confirm the level of treatment or surgery required. A child of fifteen with the responsibility or raising a baby girl. A young teenager who needs to learn the importance of raising her daughter. May Rahela come to know the blessing and importance of placing her trust in the One who will cradle her and her little one in His arms and lovingly care for them. Love can be extended in so many different ways; may the Lord grant wisdom to our team as they support Rahela, showing her love and genuine care. She will continue to live with her parents who themselves have many health issues. This family live in the depth of poverty; there are days they struggle to find their ‘daily bread’. We can offer practical support but it is so much more important to give them living bread for their soul.
A footnote from Monika: Before finishing, I would like to underline again how amazing we find that your love and care arrives at the exact time of need. Tears fill my eyes as I stand in the presence of a loving Heavenly Father. Thank you, Sister Shirley and to all your supporters for being God’s messengers of mercy.
Reading the bible’s account of Hannah, her devotion to her home and motherhood are an amazing example to me personally. In her unbelief, she believed the Lord heard her cry. Her name means ‘Grace’ and indeed she was a portrait of such. Clasping the hand of a mother, a child can walk into the unknown with a childlike trust, feeling loved and protected. My Adam remains in my heart; he will always have a secret corner there. My friend and colleague Dora has worked with hundreds of marginalised disabled children, orphans and abandoned babies throughout her twenty years plus of dedicated service. ‘Kingdom Kids’ is a work commenced in Casa Grace where thirty-eight children receive a personal twenty-minute therapy session. Many of you will recall, approximately five years ago we opened ‘Adam’s Room’. It was a room designed for children to learn the art of play. Many of the toys are looking sad with puzzles incomplete, parts missing from the Duplo blocks. One large desk, two small desks are required for therapy sessions. The children loved our ball pit with an assortment of coloured balls. There is something lovely in memories and my memory of Adam is precious and personal. In refurbishing this room, we can continue to offer a life-changing opportunity to thirty-eight children as they receive their twenty-minute personal therapy session. In addition, twenty-five children unable to travel to the centre owing to their disability, are visited by Dora for personal therapy. They are without hope and so in our own quiet way, we reach out in love to touch a life, to plant a seed of hope where bread will be multiplied, living bread, the Bread of Life.
Hamilton and I maintain regular contact with three of his former students, now pastoring in Suceava, Arad and Moldova, who have and are making frequent mission trips to the Ukraine, taking bibles, food, clothing and medication. This week the Lord enabled Tell Romania to again forward finance to all three pastors. The Kingdom of God is a living, unshakable Kingdom. He will set up His kingdom within us and through us.
My adopted son Andrei continues his pastorate in Sofronea. This weekend he is one of three thousand pastors travelling from all over Romania to attend the yearly Baptist Convention of the Baptist Union held in Emanuel Baptist Church, Oradea, where they will elect a new president for the incoming year. A special time of fellowship for all in attendance. As a young pastor, Andrei has a passion for the village children. Presently two separate teams are in operation, responsible for a local youth meeting within their home church, with another children’s work held in a nearby farm where forty-plus children eagerly attend weekly. It is hoped to hold a Christian Camp during the summer months.
Hamilton’s new commentary based on I John has now been released, ‘TO MY LITTLE CHILDREN’. It was our joy and privilege to donate one thousand copies to Every Home Crusade who are distributing the commentary to pastors throughout the world. Six hundred copies were also donated for distribution in Romania and Moldova. God is moving by His Spirit, moving in all the earth. ‘Move oh Lord in me!’
I am a list maker. Hamilton smiles, but it works (for me). The work of Tell Romania covers many aspects from Translation and Publishing; Emanuel University; Emanuel Hospice; Casa Grace, Iochebed, The Ukraine, Supporting Pastors. There are days when my mind is in ‘overdrive’. But laying down our own ability we call upon Him and at times with urgency; His word assures us He hears our cries and responds. The problems may not be removed immediately but we wait in trust on His perfect timing. In closing. I leave these words as my prayer:
The tramp on the street, homeless and weak.
Could be I, but for the grace of God.
The steel of my soul would have weakened and bent.
Had I travelled the highways he’s trod.
Oh, merciful Father, oh wonderful God.
Thy hands have spared me these things.
May my heart know compassion.
As a child when she holds a bird, with a broken wing.
Oh Lord make me strong, not to boast of my strength.
But to lend it to the weak and downtrod.
May I always remember things dear to my heart.
Are mine to hold, only by the grace of God. (Gaither)
‘I can think of no clearer analogy of our place in God’s service and a no more accurate picture of the relative merits of who we are and what we have to offer. We shall always be just pots, quite cheap on the market, but what we carry for others is priceless’. (Elisabeth Elliot)
Shirley, May 29, 2023